When I first heard there was going to be a biopic on Ray Kroc, I was interested. Would be a period piece. Mid-twentieth century, or thereabouts. Centering around the king of fast food; McDonald’s. At least they are here in America. An interesting statistic that I saw mentioned at the end of the film having now viewed it, was that nowadays McDonald’s serves about one percent of the whole world’s population. That would be a 2016 statistic, reflecting perhaps 2015 sales numbers. Having always been interested in sales all my life, I find that just f*cking amazing! On average, they sell 75 hamburgers a second. And that number gets bigger as time marches on. A well run greasy hamburger joint that started off with entire meals one could get under a dollar. In a matter of a couple minutes, if not faster, you had your food. The hot food was hot, and the cold drinks cold. This was in the year 1948. The year in which the McDonald’s of which we know of today, first opened for business (12 December). Thanks to the determination and very hard work of the McDonald brothers; Richard and Maurice. Here’s where a lot of the ideas that are still used today in McDonald’s restaurants, got their birth. These guys were hands-on everything, even the classic look of the building itself with the iconic golden arches. They named their business after themselves; McDonald’s. A story about McDonald’s had certainly have been about them, but no it isn’t. Enter the number one salesman of the past century; Ray Kroc. Not the nice guy like you would automatically think.
My first memories of McDonald’s is as a young boy. They had a location in the next town over; Perth Amboy New Jersey. Back in the latter part of the 1960s. The Beatles were still an active group. My Dad would drive us over from South Amboy. The brilliant white building with the golden arches on the side. Felt special just driving up to the place. My father would give me money, and have me go up to the window to place our order. Fun times!
Around 1977 I got a job with McDonald’s. In West Long Branch, New Jersey. Lasted a few days. Had an accident. Another new employee had mopped behind me while I was working the grill. Lunchtime. Super busy! Moving around I slipped. To break my fall, I reached out, and put my right hand, palm first, onto a very hot grill. OMG! Embarrassing to say but initially, I screamed like a little girl. A week off to heal. With my hand better, I returned to work only to find out that they were going to go back on an agreement we had. I had at the time, very long blonde hair. No intention of cutting it shorter, whatsoever. The subject was addressed when I interviewed. They told me when hired, a hairnet would do. Long story short … yadda yadda yadda, the fucker’s lied, and I quit. Stood up to the man! They would have fired me, had I not gotten a haircut. My friends were apologetic to hear I had to go through all that, yet impressed. A month or so later, I received a check in the mail for the week I was home beating off with my ‘left’ hand. I had already secured another job, so I spent what was to me ‘found money’ on pot and booze.
About 15 years later I went through my first divorce and while rebuilding my life, took a part-time job with a McD’s in Katy Texas. Get this … besides all the things one would expect to find there, they also made pizza. McPizza! Wasn’t that McBad. I worked there long enough to save up car insurance money, plus get some work done on the vehicle I had at the time; 81’ Olds Cutlass. I nicknamed it; The Golden Chariot. Parted ways with McDonald’s on good terms. Equated the situation as a good opportunity to make some extra cash, in which it was. Good old fashion hard work. Nothing I was ever embarrassed about.
Back to the movie; The Founder. Weird but the title does not refer to one or the other McDonald brothers specifically, but to the man who became known as a franchise wizard; Ray Kroc. This is the guy who is really responsible for McDonald’s worldwide success. And this is the person that this motion picture is largely about. Long story short, he screwed over the McDonald brothers. In 115 minutes, you’ll find out everything. Watch the company grow from a few locations where this film starts to the giant ‘McDonald’s’ turned out to be. The story ending with Kroc’s death in 1984.
This very well made biographical drama was directed by John Lee Hancock and stars actor Michael Keaton as ‘founder’ Ray Kroc (1902-1984). His performance is outstanding! Such a wonderful actor! His ‘Batman’ besides Adam West is the best. And who could forget, Beetlejuice (1988)?
Helping support Mr. Keaton, the McDonald brothers are played by Nick Offerman (Richard) and John Carroll Lynch (Maurice). The three of these actors shine playing off each other, making this theatrical presentation really work. And the rest of the cast excels including Laura Dern (Ethel Kroc), and from television’s ‘The Office’: B.J. Novak (Harry J. Sonneborn). ‘The Founder’ was written by Robert D. Siegel.
“Uncle G” RATES … The Founder (2016)
Using the same ten star rating system that the ‘IMDb’ website uses, whereas one star means it sucks worse than McDonald’s spaghetti (Google it), and ten stars meaning it’s worth the wait at the drive-thru, Uncle G rates the 2016 movie, The Founder … NINE Stars! A couple scenes could have been shorter. Almost lost my full attention. But I loved everything else.